Porringer-Top Tea Table
Hand-shaped cabriole legs lend grace to a versatile period piece
Synopsis: Tea tables, popular for afternoon tea during the mid-1800s, make great end tables or occasional tables today. With its rounded, soup-bowl-shaped corners, this piece is a classic example. Simple in design, it has challenging details in matching the grain, shaping the cabriole legs and transition blocks, and creating the uniquely shaped top. The project requires careful machine work and a delicate touch with hand tools. The cabriole legs are cut using the bandsaw and shaped with chisels, rasps, and files. The apron is cut on the bandsaw and shaped with chisels. The tabletop is cut with the bandsaw and shaped using chisels, rasps, and files.
When a client asked for a tea table recently, I built this one in the Queen Anne porringer style, named for the top’s rounded, soup-bowl-shaped corners. I found the design in an antiques catalog. The original was built in Wethersfield, Conn., sometime between…
Get the Plan
CAD-drawn plans and a cutlist for this project are available in the Fine Woodworking store.